I have to admit, dear reader, that on some Tuesdays the Three Truths and One Wish post is so hard to write. The wishing part is pretty easy, but the truth?…some Tuesdays I feel like I don’t know anything for sure, nothing for certain. And today’s list, which I struggled to write, seems a little like a repeat, a reworking, a mere echo or shadow of last week’s post, which was one of my favorites. So, in this case, I am going to simply consider that this is the best I can do for now, and surrender to it.
1. There is bad in the world. I thought about this as I walked the dogs this morning, made a list of all the bad things we’ve witnessed at that place where we walk together: gang graffiti on the bathrooms (both inside and out), trash by the ballfields after a weekend of games, a homeless kid sleeping in one of the play structures, dog poop and used gum and broken glass left on the ground for someone to step in, people in cars in the parking lots doing things you shouldn’t do in public, an empty playground on a Saturday morning, people talking on their cellphones and ignoring their kids or dogs or both, a fire that burned a section of trees, a natural area that was “rehabilitated” (which meant grinding under the wild irises and wild asparagus), people not giving you room to pass on a narrow trail, people who are crazy and/or addicted and/or homeless and/or lonely.
2. There is good in the world. Also at the park where we take our morning walks: two hawks circling overhead, a heron fishing along the edge of the river, fox and beaver babies, four baby raccoons playing in a tree, people pulling over where the trail is narrow to give you room to pass, people who whisper “good dog” to mine as we pass them, a wishing tree, the two evergreen trees along the trail that someone decorates for Christmas every year, a busy playground full of kids, park service crew members cleaning up trash and painting over graffiti, wild flowers, a turtle who is probably older than me digging a hole in the same spot by the river where she does every year to lay her eggs, owls, people who smile and say “good morning.”
3. You choose your response, control your reaction to reality. Whether you deem something good or bad, it’s up to you how to relate to it. Both good and bad are always part of the story, but you can choose what to focus on, where to place your attention, what to see and what to share. And, I am not trying to make a judgement about which is better, telling you to focus only on what’s good, because that would be a lie. What I mean is that what you perceive, engage, communicate, and share is always up to you.
One wish: That no matter what your external environment, no matter what the details or facts might be, that you can let go of your attachment or judgement or resistance and simply be with things as they are.
There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life. ~Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World.